Charity De Souza is a Florida native and travel enthusiast. Traveling to over 50 countries abroad and residing in 6, she has a passion for exploring new cultures. While Central Florida is where she calls home, her favorite travel memories include skydiving in Switzerland and watching the sunset in Morocco.
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Blessed with a picturesque coastline, Portugal is a sunseeker’s paradise with some of the most postcard-worthy beaches in all of Europe. Here you can explore white sand beaches framed by towering cliffs, then take a dip in the crystal clear waters or catch a wave at a surfing hotspot. The perfect blend of traditional Portuguese character and alluring coastline, here are the best beaches in Portugal.
Recognized as one of the best beaches in Europe, Praia da Marinha is a beautiful Algarve beach with a cliff-backed warren of coves. Covered in soft sand, it is accessible by climbing down many steps along the cliffside to reach its secluded beach. Its inaccessibility by public transport makes it harder to reach, but because of it makes it a more quiet beach area with fewer crowds. Its calm waters are ideal for snorkeling, while boat trips are recommended to explore the nearby caves and coves.
Praia da Rocha is one of the most popular beaches in all of Portugal, loved for its spacious beach close to many of the top hotels, cafes, restaurants and bars in Portimao. Its easy access makes it a favorite with families who can reach the idyllic stretch of sand from numerous boardwalks and walkways on the seafront avenue. Explore the surrounding region to see the neighboring Portimão Marina and the Fortaleza de Santa Catarina, while Tres Castelos offers an elevated viewpoint over the sandstone rocks.
A top spot for thrill seekers and surfers, Praia da Nazare is noted as where big-wave surfer Garrett McNamara rode the world’s largest wave ever at 100 feet. The beachside area is beloved for its traditional character, with a fishing port that draws visitors in from around the world to explore the lively town and observe surfers catch enormous waves. There’s also a tamer section of beach that hugs the town’s mosaic patterned promenade, where you can watch fisherman reeling in the day’s catch.
Located near Albufeira in Portugal’s Algarve region, Praia do Castelo is a small stretch of golden sand that dates back to the 16th century. Back then, it was home to a fort that overlooked the coast and kept watch for pirates raiding from North Africa. History enthusiasts can visit some of the ruins along the access path to the beach. The tall cliffs offer shelter from the wind, while the crystal clear waters are a great place to cool off in the summer months. If you’re looking to explore, paddle out to the tiny coves accessible from the main beach.
Located in one of the most buzzing areas of the Algarve just east of Albufeira, Praia da Falesia is a stunningly picturesque beach surrounded by earthy-hued cliffs that range from deep red to off-white, which provides a stark contrast from the lush pine trees that grow above them. Years of erosion have formed this unique landscape, which offers a coastal path that winds through the aromatic pine groves. You’ll have no trouble finding an uncrowded place to relax and soak up the sunshine, as the alluring shoreline stretches for nearly five miles.
Located in the lively seaside town of Lagos in the Algarve, Praia do Camilo is considered one of the most alluring beaches in southern Portugal. Surrounded by beautiful sandstone cliffs and unique rock formations, you can stretch your legs on the small pocket of idyllic white sand after climbing down a wooden staircase. When you need to cool off, you can take a dip in shallow, turquoise waters that are favorited with snorkelers or visit clifftop restaurants with panoramic views of the coastline.
Praia do Guincho is one of Europe’s top windsurfing and kitesurfing destinations. Its beaches near Lisbon are nestled between Cascais and the Sintra mountains and is a popular spot for those looking to enjoy an adrenaline-pumping day of water sports. Its vast expanse of sand meets the Atlantic Ocean and boasts a constant breeze that offers ideal conditions for surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing. Beginners can sign up for lessons or rent equipment right on the beach, while families with kids should know that swimming is not quite ideal due to its strong currents.
Couples looking for a bit of romance should head to Praia da Adraga on a day trip from Lisbon, as its the perfect place to enjoy a dazzling beach sunset view. Located only 25 miles from the capital in the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, the beach’s landscape of jagged rocks, golden sand and oranges and pinks that illuminate the sky at night will captivate beachgoers. Snap some memorable sunset photos, then indulge in fresh seafood offerings at one of the nearby restaurants on the beach.
Considered one of Portugal’s top surfing locations, Praia do Amado is an off-the-beaten-track destination that boasts a beautiful half-moon strip of sand that offers a backdrop of rolling dunes. It’s known for its consistently reliable waves, sitting within the boundaries of the protected Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina area. It’s broad, sandy bay is dotted with seasonal cafes and is backed by low hills that are home to several surf schools where you can try your hand at catching a wave. It’s also the location for many prestigious national and international surfing competitions.
If you’re looking to bring home a unique photo souvenir of Portugal’s picturesque beaches, a stop in Praia de Benagil is a must. The quaint fishing village is home to one of the most iconic and heavily photographed caves in the Algarve, nestled near Carvoeiro. To capture the shot, head to the Algar de Benagil, which is only accessible by taking a boat trip to the landmark. After snapping a shot of the unique grotto, soak up the sunshine as you enjoy the beach’s collection of secluded spots surrounded by the steep cliff sides that are often found in the Algarve.